Friday, April 12, 2013

Sepia Saturday 172 # : 2013 April 13

1879 Group of Campers at
Lake Mendota's Camp McBride
Courtesy of Wisconsin Historical Society, WHS-27801




I came across this picture several years ago when I was perusing the Wisconsin Historical Society's collection of Dane County photographs for some background information and visual images of the mid to late 1800s, the period when my McPherson ancestors settled in Springdale, Dane County, Wisconsin.  This picture of a group of early day campers intrigued me.  After reading my great-great grandfather's diary, written between 1850 and 1890, and getting an insight of their life on a farm near the village of Springdale, there was little in the way to suggest that those old McPherson's of mine engaged in this sort outdoor camping activity.  More likely, it  seemed to me that this group of campers might have been Madison-folk, or city-folk, out for a day or a weekend on the shores of Lake Medota.  That excursion to the "country side" would be viewed very differently today, as Lake Mendota is now in the middle of the Wisconsin's capital city of Madison.

The Wisconsin Historical Society's description of the photograph  notes that the subject is "a group of campers at McBride's Point at Maple Bluff on Lake Mendota near Madison, Wisconsin. They are equipped with German exercise equipment (exercise pins, "kegels"), a horn (like a miniature alpen horn), an axe and archery equipment." 


This has been my offering for this 172nd Sepia Saturday's "group, camping, off-having-fun" prompt. Check out what other Sepian's have brought to the group.

15 comments:

  1. Aren't we lucky we live in the age when we can wear what suits the occasion. Can you imagine the state their clothing was in after their little camping trip?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Camping or not, looked like a lot of petticoats under those full skirts!

      Delete
  2. At first I though they were pointing guns at the camera!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just outdoor exercise enthusiasts of the late 1800s. I particularly like the long bow -- wondered if she could actually pull the string --- but then I also liked the Kegels too.

      Delete
  3. You have access to a forty-year diary?? How wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the diary is a treasure. There are a few missing years in the diary -- looks like a situation where "life happened." Once I found the whereabouts of the diary, I had to travel half way across the country and photographing the diary, and now I have to get back to transcribing the diary.

      Delete
  4. I'm focussed on that diary too. Wow! What a treasure!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Are they perhaps in fancy dress as well?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yea,at first I thought them Guns too!The Clothing versus The Surrounding certainly do Clash! Perhaps the servants slept in The Tent?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Back in the 1800s, at least in the US "western frontier", one didn't take posing for the camera lightly. Best bibs and tuckers were the order of the day -- at least the day the photographer cometh.

      Delete
  7. Yes I want to know more about the diary over so many years. My grandmother wrote me a journal over 6 months, which is amazing but to have a diary over so many years would be fantastic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope to get back to transcribing the diary sometime this summer. I have about 15 years transcribed, but as any undertaking of this sort, there is a learning curve -- word useage, oddities of spelling and letter formations, and people invovled. I am thinking that I will probably go back over the work that I have transcribed to determine how much I have learned and what I need to correct. Should make the future transcriptions go a bit faster. Thanks for the interest in the diary.

      Delete
  8. What a fascinating picture! Some young women must have been more adventuresome than we commonly picture women being a hundred years ago. Maybe the people in the picture were students at the University of Wisconsin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. T'is a fascinating picture. Wish I had more information about the people and what they were doing.

      Delete